Reimagine retro with classic finger waves hair
25 September 2018
You may not know the name, but you probably know the iconic look: short hair (or medium length) set in smooth, s-shaped waves close to the scalp. Finger waves! This style dates back to the 1920s and was invented as a way to soften the more severe bob cut. It was popularized by silent movie stars before flappers embraced it, making it synonymous with the era. The look enjoyed a resurgence in the ‘90s thanks to the hip hop scene – and twenty years later, it’s back again.
Now that you know the history, here’s how to master finger waves. Just be aware that they are not the same as the similar-looking Marcel waves, which require a curling iron. Traditional finger waves are achieved without the use of heat, protecting your hair from any high-temperature damage. As a side note, they’re a great style for naturally curly hair.
Here’s what you need:
• A dual-purpose comb
• Strong hair gel, like Redken Hardwear 16 or L’Oréal Professionnel Waves Fatales
• Flat clips
1. Apply styling gel to towel-dabbed wet hair.
2. Create a deep parting with a comb, from your forehead to your crown.
3. Working with your hair on the right side of the parting, next to your face, create a small c-shaped curl (about two-fingers-width in size) by combing your hair to the left.
4. Press the middle finger of your free hand over the hair you’ve just combed. You want to keep these strands in place.
5. Now comb the hair below your finger to the right to create a backwards c – and complete the s-shape.
6. Use your free index finger to push down on this backwards c.
7. Still using your index finger, now pinch this hair up to your middle finger to complete the finger wave.
8. At this point, you can slide in a flat clip just below the ridge of the wave for extra hold.
9. Comb the hair below the wave straight down.
10. Repeat steps 3 – 9 with the next bit of hair behind your first c. You want to create waves all the way to the back of your head.
11. Once you’ve created a row of finger waves to your crown, start a second row of waves below the first. Repeat steps 3 – 10.
12. With all the hair on the right side of your parting set in waves, repeat the styling on the left.
13. Leave your hair to dry.
14. Remove the clips and voila, you have a classic finger waves style.
A few other tips:
If you have very short hair, you can still rock the finger waves look. Start at the level of your forehead, shaping your short locks into waves. Below this row, create the next set of waves so they start exactly where the first row ends. Stacking shorter finger waves in this way creates the impression of much longer continuous waves.
If you have thicker hair and are struggling to hold a style, consider using a curling iron, or even a straightener to push your strands into the desired shape.
Of course, if you’re still stuck with getting finger waves right – and we admit it’s a pretty challenging style to pull off on your own – grab your picture reference and head to your nearest salon for the help of a professional stylist.
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